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Saying Goodbye

We all know that nothing is permanent and all good things must come to an end, sooner or later; the same can be said for the people in our lives. No this isn’t a blog about death and dying (there’s too much in the media space already about that, given Covid’s unwanted and uninvited presence). This is a blog about what happens when a key employee - your system administrator - leaves your workplace and what you need to do to keep things running smoothly and to safe guard your organisation.

Sure, your organisation might have a collection to buy them a gift, or get everyone to sign a card that says how much they’ll be missed (assuming they will be). There might be a special morning tea or a farewell lunch to enjoy. If you’re lucky, they’ll do a good handover to their replacement (if there is one in place when they leave) and they might even have their work and desk file up to date. And after the speeches and well-wishes, they’ll head off into the sunset and onto their next big adventure. Sound familiar?

So, what happens next? Chances are, pretty quickly you’ll realise that they were the only one who had access or administration rights to make any changes to your website, and were possibly the font of all knowledge when it comes to your online presence and operating systems. This might be followed by an absence of emails in the company’s inbox, or maybe a phone call from a client (or member) complaining that the email they sent to your organisation via the admin person hasn’t been responded to. Then the penny will drop – you’ll see that the person who looked after your website and emails hasn’t just left the building, they’ve also left a crater-sized hole in your operations for someone else to fill.

That’s a best-case scenario. What happens if the employee left ‘under a cloud’, took all the login details with them, and still has access to your systems? And maybe has even set up in competition to your business, having gained access to your data base? Or left with a huge grudge and a massive chip on their shoulder? By now they could be creating mayhem using the keys of the kingdom that they were so willingly given when they started working in your organisation.

There’s a plethora of stories on the net about employment issues that this second scenario can create, written by employment lawyers who specialise in this area. So I thought a checklist of tasks to complete as soon as your systems administrator leaves might come in handy, to ensure your website and emails continue to work as they should, and to keep your organisation’s data safe.

System Admin checklist:

  1. Get access to their data/email before they leave. This is really helpful so that anything that might be work-in-progress can continue to be worked on
  2. Get any tips or tricks they might have picked up or developed that’s specific to the admin of your website
  3. Disable all of their personal accounts, including mobile device connections, but don’t delete the administrator accounts, as this might create even more problems
  4. Change all of the passwords they might have used, especially any admin-related ones, to new ones that are strong and not easily figured out by someone who knows you pretty well
  5. Change logins if a generic one, such as ‘admin’ or ‘manager’ isn’t being used
  6. Cancel their Virtual Private Network (VPN) / Remote Desk Network access
  7. Change all contact information if personal names/email addresses are being used – redirect the emails to their replacement’s email account
  8. Advise your clients/members that you’ve had a change of staff if appropriate, that is if the vacating employee was the first point of contact in your organisation for these people. Provide the contact details for their replacement (if it’s not a generic email account)

The best advice we can give is for you to be prepared for when the inevitable happens. Nobody stays forever, no matter how happy in their job they seem to be or how loyal they are – it’s a fact that people move on, for whatever reason, and it’s much easier sorting out access and passwords when you’re not under pressure, so try to plan ahead.

If your website is a MoST site, or is a site that is built on another platform that Expert hosts, we can help you to change logins and passwords, and we can even update your website with new information until your admin replacement is up to speed. A transition such as this will provide a great opportunity to review how your website and email system is managed and what improvements you might be able to make.

Remember that Expert is here to help you through this transition if needed – we often find that we are relied on by our clients as part of their back-up plan. And you’d probably be amazed to know how much of your corporate history we can share with you. Contact us@expert.services if you need some help with this.

Bon voyage!

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